Feds Upgrade Probe Into 2008-'11 Mercedes-Benz C-Class


  • 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Picture

    2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Picture

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded an investigation into 252,867 2008-'11 Mercedes-Benz C-Class cars for loss of rear lights that could result in a fire. | December 26, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded an investigation into 252,867 2008-'11 Mercedes-Benz C-Class cars for loss of rear lights that could result in a fire.
  • Federal safety regulators and the automaker have received 402 complaints about the issue, including five reports alleging fire, NHTSA said.
  • The probe has been upgraded to an "engineering analysis," a move that sometimes precedes a vehicle recall.

WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded an investigation into 252,867 2008-'11 Mercedes-Benz C-Class cars for loss of rear lights that could result in a fire.

Federal safety regulators and the automaker have received 402 complaints about the issue, including five reports alleging fire, NHTSA said.

"Consumers allege a loss of one or more rear lighting assemblies due to an overheated electrical connector that, in some cases, resulted in melting, smoke, or possibly a fire," said NHTSA in the description of the problem posted on its Web site earlier this week.

A preliminary evaluation of the problem was initially opened in July after NHTSA received 21 reports of rear light assembly failure.

"Since opening the initial investigation, (NHTSA) has received a total of 114 complaints reflecting an ongoing and increasing trend," NHTSA said. "In each report, one or both rear light assemblies fail completely when the electrical ground connection is compromised as a result of high resistance and subsequent thermal over-heating."

Mercedes-Benz told federal safety regulators it has received 291 complaints about the problem. The total eliminates duplicates received by the federal government and the manufacturer.

Mercedes-Benz did not respond immediately to a query from Edmunds on Thursday asking for comment on the upgraded investigation.

The probe has been upgraded to an "engineering analysis," a move that sometimes precedes a vehicle recall.

Edmunds says: If you own a 2008-'11 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, there's not much you can do at this point, except to wait for federal safety regulators to finish their work. But if you have a problem with the car, get it into the dealership immediately.

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